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    Thought you might enjoy my recent interview with Colin:

    Phenomenal Interview! That was a really great read. I always appreciate that Colin is willing to answer questions throughly and with honesty.
    Fantastic stuff. You just don't find that many "thick" interviews like that anymore.
    • CommentAuthorcc says...
    • (CommentTimeJul 15th 2008 edited)
    yeah, great job Stephen!--and nice looking magazine.

    Colin's comments are provocative on a number of levels. What jumps out for me though are his generalizations about what styles were big, even mandatory, over the years. This must illuminate a difference between the UK and US scenes--in the US, an alternative/indie/college rock scene developed slowly but steadily and fairly immediately out of hardcore punk, with Sonic Youth, the Minutemen, R.E.M., Hüsker Dü, and the Replacements all playing I believe by '82, and they were all at their peak by '87-88, along with Dinosaur Jr., when Colin says big snare drums (and big hair!) were must-haves. Sure, aspects of these bands were more retro than Wire would have been interested in, but they were more than just flame-keepers for guitar rock. I guess no real parallel existed for this scene in the UK. And by the late 80s, major artists were coming back into line with stripped down productions, like Lou Reed, Graham Parker, and Neil Young. Similarly, to be reminded that drum-and-bass was huge in the UK, where here it stayed fairly obscure.

    I'm also intrigued to hear about the big advances the band got from EMI (and to some extent Mute?). Hopefully by now it's widely known by new bands that signing with a major is rarely a good long-term decision. But how is it that these profit-driven corporations don't seem to have pursued the massive debts that they own on their unsuccessful acts? I've read comments from musicians in similar straits who joke about the money they were once given but (mercifully) don't seem ever to have had to cough it all up. Is it that the artists just don't have it and thus can't be liable for it? Or the label decides the best way to recoup the advance is to keep the albums selling as part of the back catalog? Not that I would want Wire and others to have to devote their time to making donuts rather than new music; I'm just curious. I agree with Colin that the era of major labels and big advances is a historical artifact probably best consigned to the past, but it did give us things of beauty like 154.
    Er...Its an interview, it is not "Colin presents the concise history of Rock".

    and a very interesting interview at that. Thanks for posting Agit Reader.

    I see your point about the end of big record company cash tho cc.
    who is going to pay for the next potential '154' that a new young band could make... and indeed how?!
    A fantastic interview - thanks very much for the link Agit Reader.
    Nowhere does it say "big" advances in relationship to EMI or Mute! Mute's largesse went on recording & video budgets..

    cc – you start of by mentioning the differences between UK & US ‘scenes’ after punk & then continue to discuss a US alt scene, but don’t reference the UK alt scene- r u suggesting we didnae have any? There were countless & they’re still happening! (UK) Punk had a direct influence on every yoof musical ‘genre’ since the immediate after (apart from the newly defined ‘R&B’ dross) from post-punk & new romantics, through to the watered down Britpop of Oasis & Blur & bang up to date with, say, The Horrors & Ulterior (tho’ don’t ask me what genres they subscribe to, cos I’m far too old to care!) and the US/NYC rap scene (Clash’s Magnificent 7 is name checked by many a rapper).

    Dunno much about Parker, but Young & Reed ALWAYS had basic ‘stripped down’ production!

    Wrt drum & bass being rather obscure in US – lucky you!

    No big advances Colin? just as well - an artist best work is surley born from necessity. don't want you getting rich & sated b4 your time!
    • CommentAuthorcc says...
    • (CommentTimeJul 16th 2008 edited)
    nope, didn't mean to suggest there were no UK alt genres--just wanted to provoke a UK reader into telling me what they were! so thanks... but it does seem to me that the UK music press gets more into "next big thing"-ism than the US, which leans more heavily on established and often fossilized acts in its coverage. I suppose punk (not to mention drum & bass!) would have never gotten so big there if it were otherwise. There are detractions to both approaches, of course... but I don't follow too closely at this point either, so that's a general impression.

    just surprised to read Colin concede--or seem to!--that the "big hair/big snare" couldn't be avoided. I actually think his comments about even artistic music necessarily being "culturally appropriate" are totally sensible, though I think when The Ideal Copy came out I was sporting plaid shirts and a buzz cut! (and I was about 13) What I mean is, there were many ways not to be Duran Duran, and many of those were more obvious than the ones Wire used (though, ok, in the interview Colin doesn't exactly say they didn't want to be Duran Duran, but it's implied by his description of EMI's priorities).
    i gave up reading the music mags (we used to refer to 'em as 'comics') when i was in me 20's for the very reason you (cc) mention. new bands/acts were relegated to wee paragraphs, hidden away somewhere, unless they detect an upsurge of support for them & then they'd push 'em like crazy.

    i found the only way (then) to hear about new bands was at the dj sets between bands at gigs - or by recommendations of mates who've seen new bands. Now it's soo much easier - i have been recommended so many new bands of forums such as this (which is why i started a thread on here) - much of it is not to my taste, but i've got into so many it costs me a fortune on lp's & gigs - no bad thing tho! as soon as someone says have you heard such-&-such band, i'm straight onto myspaz!